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Why we need to invest in Canberra

By 5 June 2014 0

This week I delivered a budget that invests in Canberra; it invests in our economy, invests in our people and invests in jobs.

This Budget has been framed by substantial Commonwealth cuts and the ACT Government has had to respond to the impacts on our economy and on our own finances. We have made the choice not to compound the pain already being felt by Canberrans after the Commonwealth’s cuts.

SIGNIFICANT SHOCKS TO REGIONS

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Unlike other regions in Australia that received significant support packages to help ease the blow of job losses, no such package has been forthcoming for Canberra. In fact, on Monday the Prime Minister made it clear to the Chief Minister that the ACT is on its own.

We have made the choice not to compound the pain already being felt by Canberrans for the sake of the Budget bottom line. We have made the choice to invest in services and create jobs and economic activity.

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The 2014-15 ACT Budget:

  • Makes record investments in health, education and community services.
  • Delivers funding for transformational projects like the University of Canberra Public Hospital, Capital Metro light rail, Australia Forum, City to the Lake and a new court precinct.
  • Continues tax reform, cuts stamp duty, payroll and insurance tax.
  • Fast tracks progress towards being a truly digital city with almost $85 million invested in new ICT.

The ACT Government will use our low debt and strong credit rating to invest in infrastructure and create thousands of jobs. The 2014-15 Budget contains a $2.5 billion investment in infrastructure – a record capital works spend by an ACT Government and one that reflects our commitment to growing our economy and delivering high quality infrastructure for the community.

NET DEBT TO GROSS STATE PRODUCT (GSP) RATIO

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We have made the choice to deliver the $240 million in health funding that was cut by the Abbott Commonwealth Government. We cannot turn our hospital services on and off like a tap and we need to sustain the level of care needed for our people, and to grow services in keeping with our population.

The 2014-15 ACT Budget invests $1.061 billion in the ACT education system including more than $47 million for the construction of Coombs School and $9.2 million to ensure students have access to high quality digital technology in our schools.

We have made the choice to carry a short-term Budget deficit during these challenging economic times. The Budget deficit is estimated to be $332.8 million in 2014-15, improving to $117.8 million in 2015-16, moving to balance in 2016-17 before returning to a surplus of $77.5 million in 2017-18.

Through the budget, the Government makes the choice to support our economy. Over the coming 12 months the Government will be working with the business and community to build a stronger, fairer and prosperous Canberra.

Andrew Barr MLA
Treasurer

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